On that fatal self-driving car accident

So, the car saw the pedestrian. The car didn’t stop.

The pedestrian didn’t see anything.

We blame the car and engineers but when looking at the video there’s something insane to me as a cyclist: you don’t cross a road where people go fast (43 mph, about 70 km/h), at night in an extremely dark area outside crosswalks, with your bike on the side, without looking, while walking slowly. That’s really asking for death, which happened. On the human side of this accident, the person made a terrible and wrong decision.

On the car side, people are wondering why the car didn’t stop. Well, what does happen when a vehicle at high velocity abruptly tries to avoid an obstacle? What if instead of happening in the middle of nowhere like in that case, it was happening in a more crowded area, with pedestrians on the sidewalk? Would it be better to hit a front yard to avoid the careless pedestrian, potentially hurting an entire family cooking out?

The car identified the person 1.3 seconds before impact, which means that an emergency breaking maneuver would have probably gone wrong, killing the person anyway. Then the crash might have killed or injured more people.

So, the car made the “I’m right to be here” decision while the human being made the “I don’t give a fuck” decision.

Driverless cars are still totally viable to me.

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